EATON TWP. — Oddly enough, it might have been a failed opening drive that provided the spark for Lorain’s 44-14 victory over Midview on Friday night.
The Titans received the kickoff and then sputtered out quickly — a failed halfback pass on the first play, a holding penalty and a sack of Jordan Jackson by Midview’s Daniel Bucknavich on fourth-and-16 from the Lorain 14-yard line.
Midview took a quick 7-0 lead when Andrew Gooch hit Isiah Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown pass, but the Titans were pumped that coach Dave McFarland gave them the green light in such a dire situation.
“We said coming in to the kids, ‘We really believe in you,’ and they wanted to go for it (on fourth down),” said McFarland, who added the Titans’ injured punter would be ready for Week 2. “We sputtered and our kids showed great resiliency. They kept fighting, so I’m real proud of them.”
Lorain tied the game on the ensuing drive, with Jackson connecting on a 9-yard pass to Cario Edwards before rushing for a 21-yard touchdown.
“That’s real big for confidence. We know that Coach trusts us enough to go for it in that type of situation,” Jackson said of the opening drive. “We knew going into the game that we couldn’t let one setback mess up our whole game. We had to keep our heads up, go back out there and do what we do.”
The Titans did plenty after that.
Daylin Dower gave Lorain the lead after breaking through the middle of the line and sprinting 85 yards for the touchdown. Dower rushed 10 times in the first half for 195 yards and a pair of touchdowns before sitting the second half.
“That’s a blessing. I can’t say much about it,” Dower said. “I want to shout out to my line. They worked hard. My quarterback, changing the calls and making plays … overall as a team, we just worked hard. We wanted this game and we came out and got it.”
Savon Chavis made it 21-7 with a 1-yard touchdown run before Midview pulled back to within seven thanks to a Gooch 8-yard touchdown pass to Edwin Ralat. But the two first-quarter scores were all the Middies were able to manage.
“Having that quick score was something we needed, but we never really took advantage of the momentum after that,” Middies coach D.J. Shaw said. “We had a hard time stopping them. They’re a really good team. Their athletes on the edge, we had trouble keeping up with them, and Dower … it was like 8, 9, 10 yards a pop. We thought we were going to be able to slow them down a little bit, and obviously that wasn’t the case.”
It was all Lorain in the second quarter, as the scoring started with a safety when Gooch was called for intentional grounding in the end zone and then Chavis returned the free kick 76 yards for a touchdown.
Dower scored his second rushing touchdown — from 10 yards — late in the second quarter, then Jackson hit Zach Evans for a 28-yard touchdown on Lorain’s first drive of the second half to begin the running clock.
“We’re much more unselfish than when I first got here. Our kids celebrate for each other and they know that somebody on this team is going to break a play,” McFarland said. “But what I’m probably most excited about is that we had 34 of our alumni in the last four years call or text today about this game.”
The lopsided win helped end Midview’s run of dominance in the matchup. After Lorain won the first two games in the series, the Middies reeled off six straight victories.
“It’s been a great game all the years that I’ve been here and it seems like we’ve always found a way to lose,” McFarland said.
Dower was a bit more concise.
“We out the drought,” he said. “The drought is over.”